Off to War - A Poem
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Called to action
During our family’s second consecutive military tour in Germany, the political climate in the Middle East began to heat up. The country of Iraq had invaded Kuwait causing great fear throughout the region, and tension across the globe.
The United States Military was put on alert, and ultimately, called to action. The artillery unit my husband supported began deployment procedures. Equipment and personnel were readied, dates and times set, and units began their long and tense trips into the war zone.
During this time, those who were detached from their units in support roles, were called back in order to deploy with their assigned units. My husband, and the three other men who worked with him, were required to travel over two hours from the little German town we had made our home, to join the main unit at their deployment point.
Their mode of transportation to join the unit was the German railway system. Here we were, military families, wives and children, in a train station putting our soldiers on a train to go “Off to War.” It was a surreal scene, something out of an old black-and-white World War II movie.
There is no way to describe the emotion in that railway station, the tension, fear, and pain these families felt. This poem “Off to War” is my way of sharing that day and those emotions with you . . . the reader. Perhaps you have had to send a husband or a son off to war and you will relate to this poem.
Nineteen years later I found myself reliving the same feelings of fear and pain as I sent my son “Off to War.”
Off To War
Tender eyes, Softly swimming in salty tears
Locked in longing looks,
Unspoken good byes, Whispered devotions,
Hearts pounding painfully in tight chests.
A crowded sea of people bound together,
Only the sounds of sorrow break the hushed silence.
It is time
Torn apart, Breaking hearts,
Good-bye waves, readied graves,
Children crying, clinging to their mother’s legs
Waving wives, sobbed good byes
Mouthed adieus by the strong and brave
Prayers ascending, petitions unending
To keep them from the readied graves.